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The King's English

Shortly after I moved to Utah, I began hearing about this bookstore called The King's English. I thought it was the most charming name for a bookstore I'd ever heard, and I resolved to make its acquaintance as soon as possible. That opportunity came when I discovered Tamora Pierce would be stopping there on her book tour. The moment I heard that news--I kid you not--everything else in my little world fell away. I could not believe I was going to have the chance to sit in a room and listen to one of my most beloved authors talk about Alanna and Tortall and her writing process. So I drove up to Salt Lake and had one of the most lovely  experiences of my bookish life.

I've returned to this marvelous bookstore several times since for local authors, for national authors on tour, to browse the wonderful children's section with my kids, and, most recently, to celebrate my tenth wedding anniversary. What I'm saying is, The King's English is always a good idea. Next week I get to go back to see Maggie Stiefvater talk about her latest, The Raven Boys, a book I loved (as I always love her books). I'm so excited. And I wanted to share that excitement (both for my local independent bookstore and for Maggie's books) with you guys.
Do you have a favorite local store you couldn't possibly do without? Which authors have you seen there and what keeps you returning for more? Which of Maggie's books is your favorite? (Hint: if you haven't read any, I highly recommend starting with The Scorpio Races and continuing on from there). Oh, and just in case you don't have your own copy yet and are toying with the idea, you can order a signed copy of The Raven Boys from The King's English here. I'll be sure and let you know how it goes later next week.

Comments

  1. So, I live in Portland, Oregon (I'm from a small town just south of here) and we're home to the beloved and iconic Powell's Books. However, while I loved Powell's growing up, I don't have the love for it I once did. It's become a tourist place and their selection, while massive, is pretty underwhelming and the used books are nearly as expensive as the new ones. There is a teeny, tiny children's bookstore in my neighborhood (A Children's Place) that's absolutely wonderful (Laini Taylor shops there) and while it's small, their books are well-curated. (At least their YA section is.)

    I went to a conference that was hosted by the American Booksellers Association last year and the owner of The King's English was there as one of the speakers and she was fabulous. I loved her approach to bookselling and she talked a lot about why the store has flourished while others have struggled (basically, they carry books people want to buy, help customers find ones they haven't heard of, and put on great events). I was so impressed and was really bummed that I didn't get to the store when I was in SLC for another conference last year.

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    1. You live in Portland? I have several friends there and keep planning on heading up for a visit! It just never quite seems to happen. That's interesting to hear about Powell's because I've never been and always sort of wondered if it was as awesome as people say. A Children's Place, btw, sounds like heaven.

      Betsy is a great speaker, isn't she? I'm so glad the shop has flourished as it has. Next time you're in town, be sure to drop me a line and we'll go together. :)

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    2. Betsy! That's her name! It was making me crazy I couldn't remember it.

      I will say that there is a Powell's out in the suburbs that has a better inventory and cheaper prices--they have way more genre fiction and a good YA section. (The main Powell's even hides their romance section in the back of the coffee shop, which seems dumb from a business perspective.)

      I was planning on on heading to SLC for a teaching gig this fall, but sadly that fell through--I really enjoyed the time I spent there last year.

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    3. Oh, I didn't know there was another one further out. They hide their romance section? That's . . . bizarre.

      Boo on teaching gigs falling through. It's a nice city. Here's hoping something else brings you back.

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  2. Ah, The King's English is such a fun place. My mom and sister and I lined up there for hours to meet Ree Drummond (The Pioneer Woman) when her cookbook came out. :) I'm sad I won't be able to go next week but it sounds like fun and I'm looking forward to the book.

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    1. Did you really? Awesome. I saw Stephenie Meyer there just after NEW MOON came out. That was a pretty serious line.

      Sad I won't see you there . . .

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  3. The King's English sounds wonderful. Anderson Bookshop in Naperville, IL is a store I can't do without. I saw Maggie there and now have a signed copy of The Raven Boys. Maggie is so delightful and so hilarious.

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    1. I've heard of Anderson's, Lin. All good things. I'd love to visit someday.

      She is, isn't she?

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  4. I adore The King's English. My husband is from Salt Lake so we travel there frequently. I always go to The King's English. Even when we're only there for a weekend.

    Are you planning to go to the Libba Bray event next Saturday (co-hosted by TKE and the library, I think, at some auditorium)? I'll be in town then and plan to attend.

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    1. That is awesome, Alison. I love favorite bookstores in towns you visit on a somewhat regular basis. They're always a treat to look forward to.

      I had heard about the Libba/Shannon event, but unfortunately I have a conflict that day so I won't be able to make it. Dang it!

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  5. Oh, King's English! I miss the good times there. I think my first time there was with Suey to see Katherine Stockett. Sad I won't be able to listen to Maggie. Changing Hands here in AZ is pretty awesome, though I can't make many of the events.

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    1. Oh, Changing Hands. Another bookstore I've wanted to visit for ages. I need to plan a multi-state bookstore road trip. Now THAT would be fun.

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  6. Your description of meeting Tamora Pierce is exactly how I felt when I got to meet Megan Whalen Turner this past summer. I didn't realize quite the level of idol status she had achieved with me until I was with the kind, witty, down-to-earth, real flesh and blood person! (And there was no way on earth I was going to miss the opportunity, either... despite being smack in the middle of moving house TWICE, with a month long stop-over at a friend's house in-between! Maybe I hadn't quite realized my level of dedication, either.)

    That was at the aforementioned Anderson's in Naperville! It's a splendid spot on a great little street. My only qualm was the loud, obnoxious fellow that promptly kicked us all out of the "closed" store as soon as the signing was over... like, he was literally picking up the table to put it away while MWT was still sitting at it! It was odd. I haven't had that experience there before or since, thankfully! Other authors I met there: Naomi Novik of the His Majesty's Dragon series (she was a blast!) and YAY MAGGIE STIEFVATER YAY just last weekend! She was awesome - you are in for a treat! :)

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  7. Oh, Faith. I am SO envious you got to meet MWT. I have no idea what kind of fool I would make of myself if I did get to meet her, but I can guarantee you it would be an enormous one! Gah. Wild horses couldn't keep me away if she came anywhere near here.

    It sounds like I seriously need to get myself to Anderson's. Wow. Although the dude kicking you (and MWT) out is a bit ludicrous. I keep meaning to read Naomi Novik. I have the first one in that series but haven't gotten around to it yet.

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    1. Anonymous11:52 AM

      You are going to LOVE His Majesty's Dragon! :)

      -Faith

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    2. Lol. Thanks for the vote of confidence. Clearly I needed it.

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  8. I loved living near Book People in Austin. There are some pretty cool shops in Houston, too - Blue Willow, Katy Budget Books, Murder by the Book. Haven't really found a great indie in Fort Worth.

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    1. Book People, eh? I hadn't heard of that one before. I've been to Austin and Houston but sadly didn't make it to exploring bookshops. I've heard great things about Murder by the Book. I love these recommendations so I can make my state-by-state list!

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  9. When I lived in Kansas City all the authors came to Rainy Day Books. I saw Stephanie Meyer and Maggie Stiefvater there. Maggie is so fun. You will love meeting her. She is really funny. Last fall I met Tamora Pierce at The Children's Bookstore in Baltimore. Meeting her was the most magical experience. It was such an intimate setting with all these super devoted Tamora Pierce fans, and we all just hung on her every word and bonded over our love of her novels. Last weekend I met Shannon Hale. She came to a book festival in Baltimore. I have been longing to meet her for ages, and it was awesome. As of late, I have been very lucky in my author sightings.

    Wherein I swoon over meeting Maggie Stiefvater, Tamora Pierce, and Diana Peterfreund:
    http://joleeandnate.blogspot.com/2011/12/rockstar-authors.html

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    1. That's another great bookshop name as well! Rainy Day Books. Love it.

      I saw Stephenie Meyer at The King's English as well. Just after NEW MOON came out. And I love that your Tamora Pierce event was all intimate and cozy. It was that way for me, too, and though it surprised me it wasn't hugely packed, I was happy to take it. Love your comment about not knowing each other but falling to easy conversation over the books that bind you. *happysigh*

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  10. I finally made it to King's English this year -- what a fabulous fabulous place!! I like the Tattered Cover in Denver too...it was always a treat to get to browse in there for hours.

    My friend Amy Jarecki was signing books there over the summer, so she's my current fav :)

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    1. The Tattered Cover has been on my radar for awhile. And I even have family in Denver. *plots*

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  11. The King's English IS the most charming name for a bookstore ever! I love it. A bit sad I'd never heard of it back in the day when I loved closer and occasionally visited SLC. I kind of missed out on the charm of bookstores growing up as we didn't have one, and the nearest was 180 miles away...yes, I was a VERY early adopter of Amazon. These days in NYC though, I'm loving Books of Wonder for events and a homey feel. Though I'll admit, in 4 years I've never once gone to The Strand (I'm waiting until I can afford the damage it'll do to my wallet).

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    1. Where were you that you were close enough to visit SLC?? Secondly, where were you that you were 180 miles from a bookstore?? I retroactively scandalized on your behalf!

      Heh. Let me know when you do make it to The Strand. *evillaugh*

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  12. I just checked to see when you would be coming up this week...and it's tomorrow! I was hoping I could come and see you, er, meet the author and stuff. But, alas, I have scouts of all things. Boo. Maybe next time. :(

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    1. NO!!! When do you have scouts? Is there no one who can sub for you? I would love to get to see you...

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  13. Scouts at 6:30 and if I knew before yesterday I would have tried to get a sub. :( The lesson of the story is I should check your blog more often and stay of top of these things!

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  14. Funny you should ask, since I happen to work at Barnes & Noble :) I live in Seattle and love being surrounded by books every single day :))

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    1. I thought you did! Seattle sounds like a good book place to be. I would love to visit someday.

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  15. If only it were just a little bit closer....

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    1. Yeah. That'd be nice, wouldn't it? Although I confess, I kind of enjoy the fact that going there means I'm getting out of the valley as well. Plus, it's location is so perfect I don't think I'd want it moved. :)

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